• 7.24.15

    Josh Cochran Explains the Etsy Economy

    The founding of Etsy in 2005 signaled the beginning of a new kind of populist economy. Before Etsy, the challenge of selling work, especially online, often proved insurmountable for artists all over the world. Hobbies were relegated to being merely hobbies if the creator didn’t commit and move to an artistic hub like New York, Los Angeles, or Santa Fe. But Etsy offered a different path by offering a space where creators anywhere could sell their goods without the expense of setting up a website or dealing with the permits and regulations attached to those processes. They call this “The Etsy Economy.” Even though the site has been around for a decade, there are still many who don’t understand it. So Etsy teamed up with a handful of artists including Josh Cochran to explain what it is Etsy does.

    “They had this idea of doing a live action motion animation,” says Josh. “They were already working with Jing Wei, and they wanted to get another person to collaborate so they brought me on. I did some drawings, and Jing did some drawings, and then we combined the drawings to create the more complicated scenes.” The result is a live action video that employs illustration and crafting to tell their story. In a single take, a long sheet of paper is unfurled across the frame, identifying the signature story points that explain Etsy’s process. With some real-time creation, like well placed paint or a stroke of a pen, the process is engaging and creative while remaining fully visual. You can frequently see Josh adding in the elements - he's the guy in the navy blue beanie at the bottom of the frame. “It was really, really fun. It was quite a bit different from what I normally do,” says Josh.

    Josh’s process doesn’t normally include standing around a table with half a dozen artists throwing confetti at cameras. Instead, his workspace at the Pencil Factory in Greenpoint is calmer and quieter. “I kind of work at a desk and I have a drawing table, do it all contained,” explains Josh. “So this video was interesting because it required some practice takes and rehearsal.” But at the end of the day, those differences were what made the project so rewarding for him. “It was great to start with this really loose idea of how it’s going to look in your head and then in the end it’s unexpected and better than you could have hoped for.”

    Check out the final Etsy video below.

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